North Texas will be in familiar territory today when it hosts the Conference USA meet. That could be a big advantage for the Mean Green.
A total of 13 men’s teams and 15 women’s teams will compete for the conference titles this morning on the Eagle Point Cross Country Course near the Mean Green Athletic Center. The 8-kilometer men’s race will begin at 9 a.m., with the women’s 5K to follow at 10 a.m.
“Cross country is a sport where being at home is a huge advantage,” UNT coach Stefanie Slekis said. “We know every inch of this course. We are really prepared to go out there and give max effort.”
UNT’s Jo Adams enters the women’s meet among the favorites to contend for the individual title. The senior posted a time of 17:48.47 at the Ken Garland Invitational this season and was named the C-USA runner of the week Oct. 1.
Slekis said she expects Adams to challenge favorite Elinor Kirk of UAB.
The UNT women’s team is one of six that will compete today that is ranked regionally. The Mean Green is No. 7 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s South Central poll.
Texas-San Antonio is the highest-ranked team heading into the meet at No. 5 in the region.
Matt Russ will be UNT’s top contender in a men’s race that will feature some of the top runners in the nation. Russ has finished in the top eight in two races this season and ran a 19:00.0 at the Bear Twilight Invitational, where he finished seventh.
The UNT men are ranked eighth in the region.
Tulsa is the three-time defending champion in the men’s race and is led by senior Chris O’Hare, who finished third at the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 19. UTEP features defending champion Anthony Rotich, who finished just in front of O’Hare at the Pre-National.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.